I think most readers of this site will understand the meme that somehow the recent Wall Street meltdown represented "unfettered capitalism under George Bush" is absurd. The US financial industry is the most highly regulated sector of the economy, and George Bush was in no way a free market capitalist. Bill Clinton, for example, had a better laissez faire record than Bush, in my scoring.
But those pushing for a Euro-Japanese style corporate state (e.g. Barack Obama) might beware. It probably comes as no surprise the US economy has outperformed the EU and Japan over the last decade, but would you believe we have also out-performed them over the last year? The chart below is from Paul Kedrosky, and shows GDP indexed to 4Q07 (the graph is not the way I would have drawn it -- the third small hash mark is actually the fourth, not the third, quarter).
This is why our recessions tend to be shorter than those in Japan and Europe. These other economies are generally more of a corporate state, with a major goal of the government to maintain the incumbents in the corporate world. I would argue that the key determinants to recovering from a recession quickly are asset, capital, and labor mobility. Japan has many structural limitations on these, and it dragged their recession out for years.